Sunday, May 29, 2016

Corpus Christi in the streets

I arrived back in Honduras on Saturday, May 28, after taking part in a pre-ordination retreat with the deacon candidates of the archdiocese of Newark.

Toward the end of the retreat I started reading Caryll Houselander’s The Reed of God, a classic work on Mary from 1945. The work is rich in so many ways, opening up a contemplative spirituality of everyday life.  

One section, on page 59, particularly struck me:
Today Christ is dependent upon men. In the Host He is literally put into a man's hands. A man must carry Him to the dying, must take Him into the prisons, workhouses, and hospitals, must carry Him in a tiny pyx over the heart onto the field of battle, must give Him to little children and “lay Him by” in His “leaflight” house of gold.
Now we would rightly say that Christ is dependent on human persons to bring Him to the corners of the world.

I think of the Communion ministers in our parish who visit the sick nearby and lead days of prayer every other month in distant parts of the parish. I particularly recall Marco Tulio who has been known to walk three hours to bring Communion to a village.

This morning I went into Dulce Nombre for the Corpus Christi Mass and procession. I usually try to get to one of the four or five Masses Padre German celebrates each Sunday in different parts of the parish.

We started at the outskirts of Dulce Nombre and processed to the main church, stopping five times at altars for a reflection (on creation, mercy, the family, violence, and evangelization) and blessing with the monstrance.

Padre German had me carry the monstrance twice during the procession. The second time I was keenly aware that I was carrying Christ in the streets of the town, passing by people who may or may not believe or practice their faith. I saw a few young guys I know from Plan Grande and all I wanted to do was to turn the monstrance toward them so that they might get a glimpse of a God who is vulnerable and loves each of us.

I know that Christ is already here in all parts of our world. But we need a special presence of God, a God who is vulnerable, who is willing to be broken for us, who is our food and nourishment.

This call to bring Christ in a special way to the vulnerable was one of the fruits of my retreat. Sad to say I won’t be able to do this today – I’m still feeling tired after a day long journey from Newark to Plan Grande and I’m still feeling a bit ill, a cold that I picked up in the US.

But the importance of being there with others, in remote parts of our parish, is clearly something that I have to pay attention as I prepare for ordination as a permanent deacon on July 15.

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